TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State women’s basketball coach Teri Moren introduced her 2012-13 team to the Wabash Valley during the eighth annual “Big Blue Block Party” late Friday afternoon.
It started in the parking lot near Ninth and Cherry streets and continued into the evening during an open practice in Hulman Center.
In the parking lot, the Sycamores’ four freshmen were introduced to the community for the first time in an official setting and they seemed impressed with their interactions as children played games, vendors handed out free food and the ISU band performed nearby.
“I’m having a great time,” said Makenzi Reasor, a 6-foot-2 freshman forward from Fortville. “We have a lot of support here from the town. I’m really excited for the season to start and this is a great way to kick it off.”
The ISU women began official practices last week.
“They’ve been going great so far,” insisted Reasor, who along with her teammates will open the season with a home exhibition game Nov. 2 against Bellarmine. The first real game will be Nov. 9 at home against Eastern Illinois.
Moren addressed the crowd in the parking lot, pointing out the 12 players, the two assistant coaches who were in attendance and others affiliated with the program.
Moren then mentioned how noticeable the team chemistry has been so far.
“I think this is what that group really is all about,” she told supporters. “They’re super competitive. They care about each other. You can tell that in practice each and every day with them. They pick each other up. They’ve been a really good group, a fun group to coach. When it’s all said and done … you’re going to find that you really enjoyed watching this group play.”
While the early part of the Block Party was taking place across Cherry Street from Hulman Center in the late afternoon, the Indiana State men’s basketball team was conducting its first official practice since its Bahamas trip in mid-August.
“It was a lot like most first days — a little sloppy, guys trying hard, flying around a little bit,” ISU men’s coach Greg Lansing told the Tribune-Star. “We’re going to have to stop and teach this group a lot more, just because of the youth and inexperience and all the new guys that we have.”
Lansing’s squad was allowed 10 days of practice in the summer before the Bahamas trip, but Friday’s practice triggered the countdown to the start of the 2012-13 campaign. The Sycamores will debut Nov. 1 with a home exhibition contest against Lewis, then they’ll hit the road for a Nov. 9 clash with UCLA.
Lansing praised the players’ effort Friday, but he added that more effort will be needed in the next few weeks.
“I thought it was good,” Lansing noted. “The guys were working hard. They’re buying into what we want to do… We have to do the right things all the time. Some of these new guys don’t understand just how hard it is to compete at our level, to compete in our [Missouri Valley] conference, so we’ve got to get them to figure that out.”
Lansing assessed the physical condition of his team, which includes the injured Mike Samuels, a 6-11 center who suffered a broken foot in one of the Bahamas games.
“Yeah, losing big Mike hurt us,” he admitted. “We’re going to have to play a different way without the biggest guy that we have. We’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way. Justin [Gant] is hurtin’ a little bit. Jake [Odum] is hurtin’ a little bit. Dawon [Cummings] is hurtin’ a little bit. But they’ll all be fine.”